Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament today (Thursday) urged anyone who has reached age 18 to register to vote before the deadline on May 7th. And she encouraged secondary schools to alert students to the registration process.
“The elections taking place later this month are extremely important, they will shape decisions at local and European level for the next five years,” the MEP stated.
Following a visit to a secondary school where she asked students if they were registered to vote, McGuinness expressed surprise at how few had actually registered themselves.
“It’s so important to get out and exercise your right to vote on Friday May 24th, but to do that you have to be on the register and there is still time to get registered.
“From a European perspective, it is critical that we all play a part in the future shape of the European Union at this critical time.”
Ms McGuinness said research in the UK had shown that large numbers of younger people did not vote in the Brexit referendum. “And many of them are now regretting the opportunity they had and missed to influence the outcome of the vote, and that was particularly relevant given how tight the vote was,” she said.
She said many elections have been won and lost by a handful of votes.
“However, regardless of the margin, voting is an integral part of democracy that no one should take lightly. Democracy is under threat in the world and I would encourage every young person to exercise their right to vote, a right that was very hard won in this country,” she said.
Details on how to register are as follows:
- Download and fill out the RFA2 form here. You can also download this form from CheckTheRegister.ie or pick one up in your post office, public library, or local authority.
- This form has to be signed by a member of the Gardaí by visiting your local station – you will need to bring a form of photo ID.
- Post the form or deliver it in person to your local authority, county council, or city council – you can find the details and address of your local authority, county council, or city council here.
The country will go to the polls on May 24th for the Local and European elections and a referendum on divorce.